Maxey, Richards power Cats in OT win over Louisville

Maxey, Richards power Cats in OT win over Louisville

The graduate transfer is expecting a special environment when the No. 19 Wildcats play host to No. 3 Louisville on Saturday at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky.

The Tigers led wire-to-wire, extending the lead to 10 points by the first media timeout, 17 by the second, and as many as 28 before intermission.

Butler (12-1) shot just 7-for-25 on 3-pointers, but played stellar defense in holding Louisiana-Monroe (4-7) to 23.3-percent shooting (14-for-60).

The difference between a blowout and an overtime win this time may have been that Kentucky doesn't have the killer instinct or the shooters to put the game away. They've failed to eclipse 67 points in three straight outings and the main reason their points per game sits at 74.5 is thanks to a very soft schedule.

Kentucky (8-3) dropped two games last week in Las Vegas, falling to Utah and Ohio State.

The freshman erupted for a career-high 27 points, the most by a Kentucky player against the Cardinals since Jodie Meeks scored 28 back in 2009. Louisville rallied around Dwayne Sutton, who put up eight points and 15 rebounds. And that's what I told the team is that we've got to get the ball (to Richards).

The Bulldogs made their first meeting with the Warhawks a memorable one by limiting the visitors to 11-for-52 shooting through the first 35 minutes to extend the nation's longest non-conference home winning streak to 58 games. Louisville will reach the bonus with 14:30 left in the game.

"We were a different team the last 10 minutes or so", Louisville head coach Chris Mack said, according to 247 Sports. At that point, with UofL behind 72-70 with 21 seconds to go, the air going out of the balloon.

While Richards provided the post presence, Maxey helped out with big baskets. "We just had to get stops". They had 27 free throw attempts, while Kentucky had just 13.

After the Cards tied the game though, Maxey had a chance to seal the deal in the waning seconds of regulation.

For the Cats, Maxey finished with 27 points, seven rebounds and an assist and Richards finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Even more remarkable, he played the final 13:53 with four fouls and managed to stay in the game.

The Wildcats have exceeded 69 points five times this season, and each time it was versus an opponent that ranks 239th or worse in KenPom's overall efficiency metrics. The only other OT game in series history was the original "Dream Game", an 80-68 win by the Cardinals in the 1983 NCAA Tournament. Their size gives them a big advantage on the glass and their +18.2 average point differential is sixth best in the country. Kentucky ranks 37th in defensive efficiency (88.7) and Louisville is 26th (87.6).

Kentucky hosted Louisville at the Rupp Arena in Lexington.

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